Ali A. Mazrui was born in Mombasa, Kenya, on February 24, 1933. He is now Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
He is also Albert Luthuli Professor-at-Large in the Humanities and Development Studies at the University of Jos in Nigeria. He is Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large Emeritus and Senior Scholar in Africana Studies at Cornell University. He is Ibn Khaldun Professor-at-Large, School of Islamic and Social Sciences, Leesburg, Virginia.
Mazrui obtained his B.A. with Distinction from Manchester University in England, his M.A. from Columbia University in New York, and his doctorate from Oxford University in England. For ten years he was at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, where he served as head of the Department of Political Science and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He once served as Vice President of the International Political Science Association and has lectured on five continents. Professor Mazrui has also served as professor of political science (1974-1991) and as Director of the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (1978-1981) at the University of Michigan. He has also been Visiting Scholar at Stanford, Chicago, Colgate, Singapore, Australia, Oxford, Harvard, Bridgewater, Cairo, Leeds, Nairobi, Tcheran, Denver, London, Ohio State, Baghdad, McGill, Sussex, Pennsylvania universities, among others.
His more than twenty books include Towards a Pax Africana (1967) and The Political Sociology of the English Language (1975). He has also published a novel (reprinted a number of times) entitled The Trial of Christopher Okigbo (1971). His research interests include African politics, international political culture and North-South relations. Other books include Africa's International Relations (1977), Political Values and the Educated Class in Africa (1978) and The Political Culture of Language: Swahili, Society, and the State co-authored with Alamin M. Mazrui. His most comprehensive books include A World Federation of Cultures: An African Perspective (1976) and Cultural Forces in World Politics (1990). He has also served as special advisor to the World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Professor Mazrui has five sons (Jamal, Al'Amin, Kim Abubakar, Farid Chinedu and Harith Ekenechukwu). Dr. Mazrui is Kenyan. One of his sons also is Kenyan, and four sons are U.S. citizens. Professor Mazrui was President of the African Studies Association of the United States in 1978-79, and Vice President of the International Congress of African Studies from 1979 to 1991. He is Vice President of the Royal African Society in London and has been elected as Honorary Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the College of Fellows of the International Association of Middle Eastern Studies. In 1979 Dr. Mazrui delivered the prestigious annual Reith Lectures of the British Broadcasting Corporation (named after the founder Director-General of the BBC, Lord Reith). These lectures, under the title The African Condition have been repeatedly reprinted by the Cambridge University Press and by Heinemann.
Dr. Mazrui's television work includes the widely discussed 1986 series The Africans: A Triple Heritage, jointly produced by the BBC and the Public Broadcasting Service in association with the Nigerian Television Authority. A book by the same title has been jointly published by BBC Publications and Little, Brown and Company. In 1986 the book was a best-seller in Britain and was adopted or recommended by various book clubs in the United States, including the Book of the Month Club.
Ali Mazrui is widely consulted on many issues, including constitutional change and educational reform. The range is from political engineering in Uganda and Sudan to syllabus review for schools in the State of New York. Dr. Mazrui has been involved in a number of United Nations projects on matters which have ranged from human rights to nuclear proliferation. His is editor of Volume VIII (Africa Since 1935) of the UNESCO General History of Africa (1993). He has also served as Expert Advisor to the United Nations Commission on Transnational Corporations. Professor Mazrui has served on the editorial boards of more than twenty international scholarly journals. In 1987 he was elected Vice President of the Council of the International African Institute, London. He has also been appointed to the Pan-American Advisory Council to UNICEF. He won the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award of the University of Michigan and the Distinguished Africanist Award of the African Studies Association of the USA. He is a member of the Commonwealth Trust and the Athenaeum Club (London) and the United Kenya Club (Nairobi). Dr. Mazrui's services to the Organization of African Unity include membership of the Group of Eminent Persons appointed in 1992 by the O.A.U. to explore the issues of African Reparations for Enslavement and Colonization.
His keynote address to the Second Annual Harry and Bernice Gockel International Symposium was on the topic "Africa in Crisis: The Passions, the Problems, the Prospects."